The best inventions make our lives easier. Often so simple in concept as to be beautiful and brilliant, these break-through ideas become an “overnight” success when a confluence of factors intervene to create a perfect storm of benefits to the customer. Is Rentcycle on the verge of such success?
Rentcycle officially launched in October 2009. The brainchild of founder Tim Hyer, their mission is to facilitate the business of renting “stuff”. Recognizing that the process of renting equipment is both painful to customers and highly inefficient to business, Rentcycle developed a model that creates efficiencies through online scheduling, tracking and inventory management. Customers can get info, pricing and check availability of the equipment they want to rent while niche boutique business owners are finally able to create a streamlined rental process that has been up til now, a giant time suck due to the laborious manual processes of every step.
Currently Rentcycle has targeted five short-term rental categories (including heavy equipment, bike and scuba equipment, and camera gear), but as Tim notes on his blog, the opportunities to facilitate this process across all categories are endless. From movies to high-fashion, the rental industry is an 85 billion dollar industry awaiting a make-over. And with local businesses leading the charge to go on-line, Rentcycle is poised to drive that trend.
Netflix did many things well in revolutionizing efficiencies in the movie rental business and I suspect Rentcycle is on a similar path. Using the 3-R’s, Rentcycle’s take “Reduce. Reuse. Rent”, could effectively build a new cool evolution of our culture of “you are what you own” to “you are what you do”. Renting reduces cash investment thereby increasing your own activity opportunity while reducing an environmental footprint.
Annie Leonard would be proud.